March 22, 2012KR BlogBlog

Mix Tape: The Art of Making Stuff Up

Lee Gutkind, editor of Creative Nonfiction, weighs in on the D’Agata scandal and what it means to “do a D’Agata”—new slang for “fudge”—in a piece of writing. “In creative nonfiction, in contrast to traditional nonfiction, the reporting may be filtered by a writer’s perception and the use of narrative, but that does not mean we are creating characters and situations….Fabrication—doing what my friend called “a D’Agata”—is fiction.”

Who can make stuff up? Consult this visual continuum from fantasy writer J.K. Rowling (yes, invent away) to journalist Stephen Glass (uh, no)…with songwriter Ice Cube and humorist David Sedaris as steps in between.

Considering the D’Agata mess and This American Life retracting a recent episode due to fabrication, fudging facts has never been so au courant. Here’s a short film about fact-checking featuring Bill Murray.

Ten fictional bookstores where fabricated characters could purchase prop books in pop culture, from Portlandia to Vertigo.

The NYT looks at book blurbs and asks: Do blurbs on book covers still mean something or are they just hyperbolic fluff? Do blurbs serve readers and help writers?

“MFA programs should avoid ‘professionalization’ and ‘business’ issues related to the writing life, such as discussions of the market and what sells.” True or false? Cathy Day asked both MFA faculty and students, and the survey results may surprise you.

Listen to this fascinating conversation with writer Sarah Manguso over at Other People. “Topics of conversation include: grief, suicide, friendship, mystery, memory, artifacts, death, Italy, psychosis, therapy, reality, talking dogs, youth, mental illness, crystalline awareness, autoimmune disease, paralysis, funerals, good moods, self-protection, Manhattan, Chambers Street, Brooklyn, Harris’s penis, sex, Cambridge, Harvard, chemistry, composers, sex, kindness, temporal remove, attention span, truth, panic, time, and sentimentality.”